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Published by: hollismickey on Apr 14, 2010
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Hand to hand to hand to hand. Palms against one another barely—lightly, lithely— and yet with weight, even still. Skin presses skin. Edges are indiscernible. Limits (e)merge, Hand-to-hand: passing as one. Flesh of my flesh? Touch remembered— a felt trace, a sensed mark, an imprint of passed contact held in malleable duration as if written in wax. This tablet of the palimpsest past is overwritten and overfilled. The letters cannot be made out one from the other. Time compresses into a yellow density of signs opaque until touch warms the marks and they run together, liquid and clear. The scent of light affection, the sound of soft scratching the taste of heated instrument, the stroke of weighted ink, the sight of inflamed line etching into the senses felt all over as an indiscreet, explicit synesthesia. Who is the author of this inscription? Who is not? The author of all is the same as all the authors. The text remembers them entirely. Nothing can ever be forgotten. No one either. Each makes a mark, many marks, many impressions. Inscriptions with remain. Even still, again. The waxy collection of writings which are rewritings themselves accretes in excess of hand to hand to hand to hand contact inscribing the touch of the future into the past.


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There is the foot and there is the ash. But as gradiva’s sole, or hanold’s for that matter, or so many others’ touches the ground, the foot, the leg, the ash, and the earth below serve together as a sort of machine, a momentary printing press that will leave the archive even as it disappears forever. -“Archive Fever,” Jacques Derrida

The author of all that is in there behind the door and that is entering in the morning. Explaining darkening and expecting relating is all of a piece. The stove is bigger. It was of a shape that made no audience bigger if the opening is assumed why should there not be kneeling. Any force which is bestowed on a floor shows rubbing. This is so nice and sweet and yet there comes the change, there comes the time to press more air. This does not mean the same as disappearance. -“Tender Buttons,” Gertrude Stein

Tender, gentle weight, patience in which he presses against himself, traversed by himself, silent immobility in which I too have a part—all of a sudden the feeling that he is turning around, that the immobility in him is turning around, a vision so pressing and so insistent that I couldn’t doubt that it corresponded to a real movement, as though, at the moment, he was tempted by the illusion of a circle coming back towards us as towards his real future. -“The Last Man,” Maurice Blanchot

The body which will be loved is in advanced selected and manipulated by the lens, subjected to a kind of zoom effect which magnifies it, brings it closer, and leads the subject to press his nose to the glass: is it not the scintillating object which a skillful hand causes to shimmer before me and which will hypnotize me, capture me? -“A Lover’s Discourse,” Roland Barthes

making an impression on the machine force on the floor not the same as disappearance urgently

Making an impression My eyes are closed. My mouth is open. My feet are bare. There is my foot and there is the ground. I am standing on a linguistic terrain—a carpet of alphabets. In the duration of my standing my weight presses upon language, language’s weight presses back against me. This contact of flesh and fiber forms a momentary printing press. How is it that the simple act of standing, of stepping upon the earth, can mechanistically imprint a trace to be consigned to the archive—even if only fleetingly? What is the nature of this ephemeral machine; what are its parts, what is its product? On the machine The printing press, that automatic language-maker which revolutionized the transmission of word, is a metallic apparatus; an industrial organization of whirring steel gears, weighty iron wheels, collections of lustrous letters, and stacks of smooth leaden plates. With a push of a button, this abstract assembly of parts and pieces, ravenously pulls pages through its system, only to excrete them marked with signs and symbols. It does not know the meaning of what it does; it is we who ascribe these inky depressions on the snow-white page with meaning; we make them matter. These sheets accumulate, accrete into coherent piles which we bind with twine, package between covers and dispatched to the shelves of the archive. The alphabets that were shuffled and aligned to make the text on the page become the system of taxonomy for these rectangular objects. Rows and columns of letters make a textual grid, an emphatic linear system of rational inscription. Force on the floor What is the analogy? How can this process and these material products be compared to the force my feet impress on the floor, the press the floor returns to my feet? The sensitive, fleshy, fibrous merging of feet and floor seems so much more humane, or at least human, in comparison to the mechanized authorship of the printing press. Stepping, walking, standing—this kind of embodied writing is explicitly haptic. It is explicit in that it is both visibly of the bodily and in excess of the body—a residue of the flesh that is clearly an extension of it. The word on the page produced through the churnings of a bulky machine are not so graphically corporeal. Of course, the printing press is not without touch—hands manipulate the letterblocks into typographic forms, slip the pages into place, prepare the ink, a fingertip pushes the button that enlivens the machine. Human bodies have exerted their labor to make this writing instrument—a labor erased in the thrall of the automated unconscious. This living fleshiness is overwhelmed by machine, though the embedded somatic physicality of the mechanism persists, pulsing in the throbbing of cogs, coursing through the flow of ink. The analogy (or is it a metaphor, or further still, a reality?): My feet are the letterblocks, my oils and sweat the ink, the ground the paper. By the very nature of existing, I inevitably give myself over to automatic writing: involuntarily bestowing my force upon the floor. This animate machine, like the metal one, produces material engravings that index presence. The (foot)prints tell of the press: the body-carpet marking machine. The prints condense the press: action-interval of contact is compressed into sign. The prints are the press: the printed result. All of this in one step, simple force on the floor.

My footprints are depressions, traces, inscriptions of a dense language that has yet to be codified. Force on the floor, the marking of the footprint, is but one way of creating writing that is beyond familiar linguistic notation. Standing here with open mouth my breath writes its own narrative, the grain of my voice articulates its own narrative, pressing the air—another momentary printing press emerges. Not the same as disappearance These writings cannot be so easily paginated or bound; they cannot be so easily shelved for storage. But, their elusiveness is not vanishing. When we think of the footprint in the ash, we envision its disappearance: the ash covers over the mark and its printed presence is forgotten. But are these prints really absented, erased from memory? Might they be present in some other way—enduring in an unfamiliar archive that preserves that which is beyond signification? This is archive made through re-pression. It is an archive that exists only through pressing, and pressing again. It is iterative, which is not to say that it is a repetition of the same. Instead, this archive is haunted by difference. I cannot stand in exactly the same place, I cannot create an identical impression, but I can remember the action through rehearsal, by pressing again. It is in this way that we create the museum of affective perceptions and sensory impressions that press upon me still. This museum’s collection accretes unwittingly, without my deliberate curation. Pressures accrete in duration, continuously in the present. An echo of a gesture, a re-enactment of a sound (re)emerge as if for the first time. They sometime re-impress themselves without my knowing—felt if not always consciously, sensed if not always seen. Becoming close As I stand alone on the carpet, I am not the only author in the room. The writing of others continues to press upon me, and form my impression. My mark is made of the marks that have already been made by other hands. My writing recalls other (con)texts. I am always quoting someone else. It is as if the authors of all that I inscribe wait behind the door, anticipating their re-entry. Even the position of my body intentionally remembers the open mouth of another. I am an embodied reiteration of her. I will not name her, for her autograph is apparent underfoot. She has written the carpet composition beneath my feet—the fibrous text I now overwrite again with her own impressions. This is not a violent plagiarism, at least I do not intend it to be. My (re)impressions are tender. They are a means of intimacy, of (be)coming close to the bodies—of people and texts—whom I love. In the moment of writing over and again, the future and past press together like two palms touching—flesh-to-flesh. Urgently The palimpsestuous press of my (re)printing is memorial in that it remembers and ultimately (re)turns to others. And yet, its time is pressing—not nostalgic in its tenderness, but urgently present. A (re)pose of insistent intensity, standing still in almost the same position I rewrite my presence into the present. Through constant pressure I re-present myself continually and necessarily. I press myself even now, eyes closed, mouth open, feet bare. Again and again, I stand upon a linguistic ground, writing myself, so that I may be here, still, making an impression.

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